MIAMI (WSVN) – A man with schizophrenia who was convicted for a 1999 gang murder has been granted a prescription for medical marijuana.
According to the Miami Herald, amid objections from prosecutors, a local judge allowed 34-year-old Miguel Valdes to join the state’s medical marijuana program. This came as the State’s Attorney’s Office argued that Valdes didn’t need marijuana, which he had been smoking when he and another man used a tire iron and a knife to kill a young man.
Marijuana is a drug that would usually get a convicted killer thrown back in jail as a violation of his probation.
However, Valdes claims he’s been trouble-free, and that the drug helps keep him “mellow,” the Miami Herald reports.
Under Florida law, schizophrenia is not listed as an ailment treatable by medical marijuana. However, exceptions to use marijuana for other conditions can be made if they are deemed to be just as severe as those listed.
Valdes accepted a plea deal which saw him serve 12 years in prison, a year of house arrest and nine years of probation. The Herald reports that he was able to accept the plea deal partially because of significant mental health concerns. A doctor reportedly concluded that Valdes suffered from schizophrenia that was exacerbated by cocaine and marijuana use.
According to the Miami Herald, prosecutors believe Valdes had not provided any viable evidence that he needs marijuana. However, Valdes’ attorney argued otherwise.
“If his doctor prescribes something that has for thousands of years of history, everyone agrees is safe, [he] should be allowed to take it,” Valdes’ attorney said at the hearing, the Miami Herald reports.
Ultimately, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler sided with Valdes, granting him permission to get the prescription.
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